Advanced Breast Cancer: A Guide to Living with Metastatic Disease


First published 1997 by Patient-Centered Guides, O'Reilly & Associates as Holding Tight, Letting Go: Living with  Metastatic Breast Cancer, republished 1998 under current title



Musa Mayer has given us a gift that we have needed for a long, long time: an in-depth, truthful, personal, and informative resource about metastatic breast cancer. Advanced Breast Cancer is a major work that I believe will be as important to women with metastatic breast cancer as Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book is to newly diagnosed breast cancer warriors.  --Susan Claymon, Breast Cancer Action Newsletter

Advanced Breast Cancer is an excellent book. It addresses the dual realities that people actually die of metastatic cancer and that there is much they can do to help themselves and one another live well with the full knowledge of this threat. If knowledge is power, this book will be good medicine. --David Spiegel, M.D. Stanford University, Author of Living Beyond Limits: New Hope and Help for Facing Life-Threatening Illness 

Excerpts from Advanced Breast Cancer: A Guide to Living with Metastatic Disease:  (click for link to

  • Preface. With Arms Held Out
A Difficult Subject 
Signs and Symptoms of Recurrence
  • Chapter 3. Seventeen Stories of Metastatic Breast Cancer
What is metastatic breast cancer? 


  • Chapter 4. The Shock of Recurrence
The Shock of Recurrence  
  • Chapter 5. The Problem of Knowledge: Doctors, Information-Seeking and Statistics

I Want to Know, but… 

How Long Do I Have? 

Doctors are Not Gods 

  • Chapter 6. Medical Treatments and Choices
  • Chapter 7. Hope and Healing for the Rest of You: Complementary Therapies

Stress, Personality and Metaphors of Illness 

Dealing with the Ups and Downs of Illness 

Curing, Healing, and Being Whole 

  • Chapter 8. Living with Side Effects and Symptoms

Living the Patient Role:  "I Just Hate to Ask" 

Testing, Testing...Playing the Waiting Game 


  • Chapter 9. Families and Friends Speak: “It’s happening to us, too.”

Scenes from a Marriage 

Communication with Loved Ones 

Deepening of Love 

Friends and Extended Family 

  • Chapter 10. Light and Shadow: Stories of Remission, Work and Identity


Faith, Spirit and the Search for Meaning 

Living Dreams Deferred: Priorities and Time 

 Living in the Moment: Paying Attention 

The Anatomy of Courage